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FAU Celebrates Summer 2012 Commencement

BOCA RATON, FL (August 7, 2012) – Florida Atlantic University will confer more than 1,600 degrees on Tuesday, August 7 during three commencement ceremonies held in the Carole and Barry Kaye Performing Arts Auditorium on the Boca Raton campus. The new graduates will join more than 127,500 alumni who have graduated from FAU since the university opened its doors in 1964.

“Commencement is the ideal moment to recognize Florida Atlantic University’s dedicated students’ achievements, along with the University’s quality faculty and supportive community,” said FAU President Mary Jane Saunders. “I congratulate all of today’s graduates and wish them well as they celebrate this most important time in their lives.”

FAU will present the President’s Distinguished Service Medallion to Marilyn C. Link, the longtime leader of the Harbor Branch Foundation and the Link Foundation at the 1 p.m. ceremony. Link served as trustee and managing director of the Harbor Branch Foundation and provided support to what has become the Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute (HBOI). She played a key role in HBOI’s ongoing development and in 1965, the Link Foundation, founded by her brother Edwin A. Link, provided a generous grant to FAU to support the creation of the country’s first undergraduate ocean engineering degree program. The Link Foundation continues to provide opportunities for FAU students to work and learn beside HBOI/FAU’s world-class ocean engineers and marine scientists.

Agbe Fianu Asiamigbe, an FAU alumnus, will be awarded with an honorary master’s degree posthumously from the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science at 5 p.m. Asiamigbe, who was pursuing a Master of Science in Teaching Mathematics degree at FAU, taught high school mathematics and was an adjunct mathematics faculty member at Broward College. His daughter will accept the award on his behalf.

“Commencement at FAU is the perfect time to remember how important and meaningful this university is to the students, faculty, staff, and six-county region in which it serves,” said Robert J. Stilley, chair of FAU’s Board of Trustees. “Receiving a college degree is a major accomplishment, and I commend all of today’s graduates.”

Summer commencement also highlights the accomplishments of outstanding graduates, including:

  • Stefano Bertola, 43, of Turin, Italy, had a strong desire to earn a post graduate degree in the United States and provide his wife and three children with the chance to experience life in America. After researching colleges and universities throughout North America, Bertola selected FAU as the perfect fit for his international educational goals and South Florida as having the most opportunities for his family. He will receive a master’s degree in business administration with a specialization in sports management from the College of Business in the 9 a.m. ceremony.
  • David John Valliere, 32, was told by elementary school teachers he’d never make it in a traditional classroom because his IQ score wasn’t high enough. Valliere’s elementary guidance counselor told him that he should stick to a technical-only track because he would never make it to college. Despite his learning disability, Valliere will graduate with a 4.0 GPA and receive a master’s degree in social foundations of multicultural education with a specialization in TESOL and bilingual education from FAU’s College of Education in the 1 p.m. ceremony.
  • Sharon Homer-Drummond, 44, has more than a decade of professional marketing experience and a military career as an Army Reserve medical service core officer. Her first love of science guided her to pursue a doctoral program that included an ability to study marine animals and their environment at multiple levels of organization and across a variety of disciplines. She will receive a doctorate in integrative biology from FAU’s Charles E. Schmidt College of Science in the 5 p.m. ceremony.

Some interesting statistics regarding the summer graduating class include the fact that 65 of the degree recipients are over the age of 50. The oldest graduate is 71, and the youngest is 19. The graduates represent 42 countries.

For the convenience of family members and friends who cannot attend the commencement ceremonies, the proceedings will be cybercast at


Florida Atlantic University, established in 1961, officially opened its doors in 1964 as the fifth public university in Florida. Today, the University, with an annual economic impact of $6.3 billion, serves more than 29,000 undergraduate and graduate students at sites throughout its six-county service region in southeast Florida. FAU’s world-class teaching and research faculty serves students through 10 colleges: the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters, the College of Business, the College for Design and Social Inquiry, the College of Education, the College of Engineering and Computer Science, the Graduate College, the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing and the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science. FAU is ranked as a High Research Activity institution by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The University is placing special focus on the rapid development of three signature themes – marine and coastal issues, biotechnology and contemporary societal challenges – which provide opportunities for faculty and students to build upon FAU’s existing strengths in research and scholarship.  For more information, visit

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